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Give Them culturally relevant stories for sucess

Giving kids culturally relevant stories, is as important for their development as food, education and medicine.

Photo of Stephan Seifert
7 29

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I came across this talk by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie a few years ago and was touched by her story. Relating it to the challenge, I know in New Zealand, indigenous Maoris suffered most when they lost their own cultural heritage and stories and tried to become westernized, disconnecting themselves to a culture that wasn't their direct heritage.  Instead they conected with problems of alcoholism, violence and unemployment. (And before anyone complains it's a very brief and very incomplete sinopsis of a very complex problem)

I think it's important to find and promote culturally relevant stories for youngsters in a way that resonate and promote their values and still introduces them to the modern world.

The idea would break down into various themes/sections:
  1. involve working with psycologists and child development experts as well as the local community to help find their values
  2. translate how their traditional education techniques can be adapted and transformed through the informed use of psycologists and child development  and design so that the stories reflect local needs and stories in a modern way
  3. develop local storytellers and techniques to implement and start teaching in schools and most importantly at home within the family

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Photo of Maurizio Bricola

Hi Stephan this is a great insight! together with other contributions highlighting the importance of reading as well. All these are inspiring us to consider integrating an e-reading module into Baby Blossom. Mothers (and fathers) could use Baby Blossom to chant and/or read local (and international relevant) tales to their babies when put them to sleep. That will make Baby Blossom attractive for daily usage and at the same time will provide parents with insight on the health and well-being of their children. Thanks!

Spam
Photo of Stephan Seifert

Hi Maurizio, thanks for your feedback. Yes reading and the parent child bond is very important, but I don't know if an e-reading application would be the most apropriate solution in this case. I am trying to find concrete numbers, but I imagine we are dealing with a large % of a population that is illiterate and without dependable power source or e-reader devices.
These are all solvable issues of course, but maybe in the course of solving those issues we are making the problem larger than it actually is?

Spam
Photo of Stephan Seifert

Ok so our two target countries Ethiopia and Tanzania have a respective literacy rate of 39%and 69.4%:

Ethiopia overall39% , male 49.1% , female 28.9%
Tanzania overall 69.4% , male 77.5% , female 62.2%

Compared to 99% for all sexes in most Eurpean and North American countries....

Spam
Photo of Maurizio Bricola

Dear Stephan thanks a lot for your feedback and figures! we are trying to make relevant local information available to women throughout anti and post natal care to ensure the healthy growth and thrive of children 0 to 5. (This information could also be listen to using small headphones) One of the main challenge in introducing is having the end user regularly consult and act upon the information they have. Sometimes it is just a matter of having or not having certain information (lke how to make a ORS at home) or decision supportive tool (like a flow chart, decision tree, etc..) to save life. It takes lots of effort to achieve behavioural change, what we have noticed is that if individual can have a mean to privately and (then within intimate circles) access certain information they tend to behave differently. To achieve user adoption of certain best practices is not easy. Being able to leverage on habits and mindful moments like when parents put their children to sleep it might be a good bet. It is about enhancing that moment, that connection experience, that mindfulness providing parents with the necessary actionable information they need. Thanks!

Spam
Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Hi, chiming in the conversation on the importance of story telling (which is not necessarily associated with reading) and singing, I'm wondering if rather than an e-reader, technology (maybe as simple as radio) could not be used to provide access to stories and songs... to be listened to by parents and kids together, or only by kids while parents are busy.

Spam
Photo of Maurizio Bricola

Hello Anne, I agree with you. Story telling and singing can be powerful vehicles for behavioural change. I think the word e-reader is misleading since it might making us think about some big device (my apologies for using it). If we look at MP3 players, (which are used for listen to music, tales or podcasts) some have a little screen for menu navigation. It might be worth to explore if indeed a little screen adds value, since it will allow literate people to read and be able to interact with the device, inputting info, or answering yes-no questions for example, opening up lost of useful possibilities to provide information assistance to mothers, fathers and their children. One of the main challenges (technically speaking) is power consumption. How much power can we limit ourselves with and still be able to achieve computational impact? Screen vs speakers/mic, will it be possible to use both and still be able to power the device with small solar cells for daily usage?

Spam
Photo of Anne-Laure Fayard

Thanks Maurizio for the clarification. Important challenge indeed regarding power consumption. It'd be worth looking into power cells. Maybe also exploring other options like charging a phone while biking: http://www.designother90.org/solution/bicycle-phone-charger/